CommonWealth Partners: Impacting Energy Use Though Tenant Engagement
CommonWealth Partners owns and manages office properties across the United States and has maintained a commitment to sustainability since 1995. The company’s sustainability efforts focus on increasing efficiency, lowering operating costs, benchmarking all assets, and increasing its number of LEED-certified properties. In 2014, CommonWealth Partners began working with tenants to provide programs that serve their needs and enhance productivity. Tenants can be responsible for up to 70 percent of an average office building’s energy consumption, but it can be challenging for owners to engage them to change behaviors. CommonWealth Partners believes working with tenants through education and awareness is a step in the right direction to reduce energy use and create healthier, more productive working spaces. Commonwealth Partners developed a customized Tenant Engagement Program to address sustainability with their tenants and drive the environmental performance of their properties.
CommonWealth Partners includes several sustainability-specific policies as part of its overall corporate sustainability plan. Click MORE to see a full list of these policies:
- Building Resilience and Climate Adaptation Policy
- Building Exterior & Hardscape Management Plan
- IPM, Erosion Control & Landscape Management Plan
- Water Efficiency Program
- Cooling Tower Water Management Plan
- Refrigerant Management Policy
- Energy Policy
- Ongoing Commissioning Plan
- Sustainable Purchasing Policy
- Solid Waste Management Policy
- Lamp Purchasing Plan
- Smoking Policy
- Green Cleaning Policy
- IAQ Periodic Inspection Plan
- IAQ Complaints: Response Procedures
- IAQ Management Plan for Facility Alternations and Additions
- High Performance Cleaning Program
- Indoor Integrated Pest Management Plan
- Stakeholder Engagement Policy
- Green Office Guide
- Green Tenant Improvement Guidelines & Resources (Building Safety)
- Health and Wellbeing Guide
- Environmental, Social, Governance Policy
- Sustainability Due Diligence Procedures for New Acquisitions
After benchmarking 100% of its portfolio with Energy Star Portfolio Manager, CommonWealth Partners rolled out 24 policies and procedures as part of their corporate environmental programing, some of which target improving occupant health, safety, and productivity. As part of the rollout, CommonWealth Partners launched two guides to provide tenants with a starting point to sustainable office practices. The Green Tenant Improvement Guide showcases a variety of technological and behavioral strategies tenants can use to green their interior spaces. The Green Office Guide provides simple, low-cost behavior strategies, best practices, and resources tenants can use to green the day-to-day operations of their offices.
During the month of April, property teams are encouraged to hold events in recognition of Earth Day like E-Waste drives, and provide resources and educational outreach to tenants. Those facilities in pursuit of LEED certification are also sent out tenant comfort surveys during the course of the year.
While individual tenant spaces are not currently metered separately, CommonWealth Partners shares energy consumption on a per building basis. Comparing how buildings measure up to each other creates a friendly competition among tenants to aim to reduce energy use. The Green Office Challenge directs tenants to carry out specific energy-reducing tasks in their offices to earn points and receive a rating with a maximum 100-point score.
Property teams also have monthly outreach targets, which encourages communication with tenants about goals, policies, and procedures. CommonWealth Partners has also rolled out a new opt-in service for tenants to receive Green Tips as pop-ups on their computers, providing them with simple ideas to conserve energy. These tips vary for tenants and property managers and range in topics from how to reduce office plug loads to suggestions for more environmentally friendly commutes.
CommonWealth Partners' Sustainability team developed a comprehensive internal and external outreach program to minimize its portfolio’s environmental impacts as part of a larger sustainability initiative. CommonWealth Partners collaborates with its tenants on an annual basis to create healthier and more productive workspaces. The company has implemented a robust Tenant Engagement Program that employs several strategies including:
- Tenant comfort surveys to assess satisfaction levels.
- Online resources for individual property sites.
- Educational programs and marketing presentations.
- Green Tenant Improvement Guide.
- Green Office Program.
- Sustainability signage to direct tenants to efficiently use their spaces.
- Earth Day events.
- Nationwide E-Waste Drives.
- Earth Hour Events.
- Employee Educational Webinars.
- Employee email communications.
- Sustainability newsletters.
- Annual sustainability reports.
- Vendor and tenant memos.
- Case studies.
While individual tenant energy use is not currently tracked by separate metering, CommonWealth Partners assesses the success of the implementation of its Tenant Engagement Program in other ways:
1. Responses from annual tenant comfort surveys.
2. Attendance and participation in tenant events such as Earth Day activities, recycling and E-waste drives.
3. Feedback from property teams who work closely with tenants during tenant build-outs.
4. Measured adoption of CommonWealth Partners’ Tenant Improvement Guide tracking installation of efficient lighting, occupancy sensors, and metering devices.
5. Adopt of CommonWealth Partners’ Green Office Guide that addresses tenant behavior and occupant health improvements.
6. Achievement of performance goals to score 90 or higher on Energy Star across entire portfolio and decrease energy consumption by 20% by 2030.
Since the rollout of the Tenant Engagement Program, awareness of CommonWealth Partners' sustainability goals and key performance metrics has increased among tenants. As a result, the portfolio achieved an average ENERGY STAR score of 90 out of 100 in 2015 and is staying on target to decrease energy consumption by 20 percent across the portfolio by 2020 using a 2010 baseline.
Tools & Resources
The CommonWealth Partners Tenant Engagement resource packet includes detailed information on the many initiatives included as part of CommonWealth Partners' tenant engagement program.
CommonWealth Partners developed a Tenant Engagement Program that increased tenant awareness for energy efficiency and sustainability, which helped them achieve an average ENERGY STAR score of 90 out of 10 portfolio-wide as a result.
Commercial Real Estate
Increase tenant awareness for energy efficiency and drive actions toward more sustainable behavior.
Create a strong and robust Tenant Engagement Program as part of larger corporate sustainability goals.
CommonWealth Partners' portfolio achieved an average ENERGY STAR score of 90 out of 100 in 2015 and is on track to meet its goal of decreasing energy use by 20% by 2020.